Nov 23, 2012

Two Time Eighties Mets Infielder: Bill Almon (1980/1987)

William Francis Almon was born on November 21, 1952 in Providence, Rhode Island. The six foot three right hand hitter, attended Brown University, getting drafted as the number all around pick by the San Diego Padres in 1974. After flying through AA & AAA minor league ball, the Padres brought him up right away that September after just 39 games.

He played in 16 games batting .316 with three RBIs. He spent most of the next two seasons down at AAA, having a rough 1975 season batting .228 while making 48 errors at short stop (.939%). He was brought up for six brief games that September as well. The next season at AAA Hawaii he batted .291, making 36 errors at short for a .947 fielding %.  

In 1977 he became San Diego’s main short stop, leading all NL shortstops in put outs (303) errors (41) and sacrifice hits (20). He batted .261 with 2 HRs 18 doubles & 43 RBIs while stealing 21 bases. He was the Padres short stop again in 1978 but his days were numbered in 1979 when a young Ozzy Smith arrived on the scene. That year Almon played 65 games at second base & just 25 games at short stop. 

In December of 1979 he was traded along with Danny Briggs to the Montreal Expos for former All Star second baseman Dave Cash. On July 7th, 1980 after playing just 18 games he was granted free agency and four days later he signed with the New York Mets.

It would be the first of two brief stints with the Mets. Almon played a utility role backing up Frank Tavares at short stop, as well as Doug Flynn at second base. He played in 48 games batting .170 with 19 hits in 112 at bats, with no HRs and four RBIs. He made his Mets debut coming in as a pinch runner on July 11th in Pittsburgh. In his fifth Mets game, he had a big four hit day, scoring four runs in a big Mets 13-3 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. The fifth place Mets released him that December.  

He went on to play for Tony LaRussa with the Chicago White Sox for two seasons, having a fine season in 1981. He was back in a starting role, playing in 103 games in the strike shortened season, batting .301 (349 at bats) with 16 stolen bases, posting a .969 fielding % .

He played two seasons in Chicago & then signed a two year deal with the Oakland A’s playing there as their main short stop. In 1983 he had career highs in doubles (29) stolen bases (26) & RBIs (63). He went to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two seasons dropping off to a .219 average in 1986.  

In May of 1987 he came back to the Mets in a trade for Al Pedrique who had played in six Mets games going 0-6 at the plate. Almon played in 49 games for the ’87 Mets, at short stop (22 games) second base (10 games) & first base (2 games). On June 24th he had his big Mets moment, as he singled in the bottom of the 9th inning against Cubs closer, Lee Smith. The hit drove in Kevin McReynolds with the game winning walk off run. Overall he hit .241 with three extra base hits while driving in four runs.

He wrapped up his 15 years career in 1988 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Lifetime he batted .254 with 846 hits, 138 doubles, 36 HRs, 296 RBIs, & a .305 on base %. At short stop he posted a lifetime .960 fielding percentage (616 games) at third base .927 % (212) games, in the outfield (.990 %) 161 games second base .973 % (102 games) & he even played one game at catcher.  

Retirement: After his playing days Almon went back to Brown University as their baseball coach from 1993-1996.

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